While coin shows are great fun, with at least 40 or 50 dealers all under one roof, it can feel intimidating to first-timers. If you’re interested in attending a coin show, you can find out more about them before you actually get there by looking online. Then, you can hit the bourse floor with confidence!
One way to feel more confident is to know the basic etiquette to observe at a coin show. No-one gets it right all the time and even more experienced dealers and collectors can make mistakes, but as long as you show some willing, your faux pas will all be forgiven.
Here’s the basics
Put yourself in the dealers’ shoes
Very often, coin dealers have brought their best items to the shows, both to show to other dealers and to make a lucrative sale. This means that they’re understandably nervous about theft or damage to their best pieces. Act with care, courtesy and maintain a constant dialogue with the dealer as you examine their coins.
Keep your bags out of the way
As well as any other containers. If you’re standing or sitting at a dealer’s table, make sure your bag is away to the side or behind your back. Don’t keep it in front of you or between your feet. This leaves your arms and hands free and also keeps the bag out of the way so the dealer knows you’re not going to slip or drop a coin into your purse.
Remember which tray you picked the coin from
Some dealers have trays or boxes which carry coins that are all at the same price. Only look through one tray or price group at a time and if you do pick any coins to buy, leave them to one side or ask the dealer to package them immediately so they don’t end up in the wrong tray.
It’s best to only handle one coin at once, too. This is to avoid confusion and also to prevent coins rubbing against each other, which can cause damage.
Keep books and checklists out of sight
If you’re scanning a checklist while you’re with a dealer, it suggests that you don’t believe or trust their pricing. Books are also brilliant places to slip coins into for people who don’t feel like paying for them…
Handling the coins
You always need to be aware of what your hands are doing at a coin show. Wear short sleeves if possible and make sure you already have your loupe or magnifying glass to hand so you don’t have to dig around in your bag first. If you do need to reach into your purse, tell the dealer and keep your palms visible and fingers open as you reach down into it.
The smaller stuff
Which, of course, is just as important! You need to bring cash as most dealers don’t take credit cards. You also shouldn’t ask a dealer to hold coins you know you’re not likely to come back for. Don’t hog the junk coin boxes and only ever handle coins and slabs by the edges.
Lastly, have fun and get chatting!